This year’s Doc Edge film festival features 83 documentaries from New Zealand and around the world. And until July 11, most of them are available to watch online. Here are seven worth checking out.
High Tide Don’t Hide
Youth-led climate protests have brought hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders onto the streets to protest in recent years. High Tide Don’t Hide follows some of the movement’s young organisers – including the likes of Aigagalefili Fepulea’i-Tapua’i and Sophie Handford – on a steep learning curve as they step up and take the reins of activism on behalf of their generation.
The winner of Best International Feature at this year’s festival, Wuhan Wuhan is a behind-the-headlines look at the world’s first and possibly most intense Covid-19 lockdown. With unprecedented access, the documentary draws on hours of footage shot by different crews to tell five different personal stories from a vast cross-section of the locked down city. The result is a remarkable portrait of one of the most scary and uncertain moments in modern history.
The Sea Decides
The easiest way to make the 12,000km journey from Singapore to New Zealand is to get on a plane. Adventurer Grant Rawlinson’s way must be among the hardest – his world-first attempt involved rowing from Singapore to Australia, cycling across that vast continent, then rowing the Tasman Sea. Any one of those legs would be tough and dangerous enough on its own; doing it all back-to-back is something else completely.
Captains of Za’atari
There are around 80,000 Syrian refugees at Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Captains of Za’atari focuses on two of them – football obsessed teens Mahmoud and Fawzi, who train all day every day and dream of being the next Ronaldo. They see the sport as one of their only tickets out of the camp, and when an international football academy comes to visit they jump at the chance to impress. Surely the most emotional sports documentary you’ll see all year, from the trailer alone.
Valerie Taylor: Playing with Sharks
Between Discovery’s Shark Week and National Geographic’s Sharkfest, there’s no shortage of shark content available these days – but this year’s best shark documentary might actually be at Doc Edge. Playing with Sharks tells the incredible story of Australian shark lady Valerie Taylor, who started out hunting them in the 1950s before an epiphany led her to dedicate her life to studying and protecting them like a kind of underwater Jane Goodall.
A Lithuanian sailor leaps from a Russian ship, across the icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and lands on the deck of a US ship in the middle of the Cold War. What happened next for the asylum seeking Lithuanian is the subject of The Jump, a stranger-than-fiction documentary that has all the twists and turns of a Cold War political thriller.
The Garden of Evil
The murder of America’s Cup hero Sir Peter Blake in the Brazilian Amazon shocked the nation in 2001; 16 years later another New Zealand environmentalist, Captain Pete Bethune, was lucky to escape a similar violent attack in the same region. The Garden of Evil sees him travel back to the scene of the crime, to uncover the deep roots of corruption and organised crime that many believe were behind the two incidents.
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